Utah prosecutor who cleared cops denounces violent protests

District Attorney Sim Gill inspects the damage to the district attorney’s office Friday, July 10, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Protesters decrying the police shooting of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal painted and marked the district attorney’s office Thursday, July 9, 2020, night, after two police officers in Utah were cleared in his death. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah prosecutor who cleared two officers in the shooting death of an armed man denounced subsequent protests that turned violent and resulted in another officer being injured.

Protesters rallied Thursday evening following Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill’s announcement that police officers had acted legally in May when they fired more than 30 times at Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, 22, as he ran away. His death has become a rallying point for protesters in the state amid a national wave of dissent against police brutality.

Authorities declared an unlawful assembly after protesters smashed windows at the district attorney’s office. One officer was injured and two people were arrested, according to police. The governor declared a state of emergency to close the Capitol building and grounds until July 13.

In a statement Friday, Gill encouraged people’s right to protest but roundly criticized demonstrators who he said engaged in “misguided and unfortunate actions.”

“We truly believe those who acted out violently last night do not speak the hearts and minds of so many in the community who have worked too hard for too long to have their causes overshadowed by the regressive measures of so few,” said Gill, a Democrat.

Palacios-Carbajal was struck 13 to 15 times shortly after midnight on May 23 as he ran away from Salt Lake City police officers who were investigating a gun-threat call and had yelled for him to drop a gun, Gill said.

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